Title

Reflections on Form: Food-Centred Insights

Presenter Information

Claire Hocking

Start Time

16-10-2002 12:00 AM

End Time

18-10-2002 12:00 AM

Abstract

Older women, younger women, poorer women, and men all perceive the occupation of cooking from different perspectives. In the Western world, older women were socialised to accept that cooking was a natural occupation that they would find rewarding. Cooking for their family would be a creative outlet and a critical ingredient of family togetherness. Younger women contest this view, although many continue to do the cooking to ensure that the task of feeding the family is done properly or done at all. Poorer women's concerns centre on having enough to cook. They enact a variety of strategies to ration food, including keeping food stocks low and restricting their own intake of meat. To men, cooking has been portrayed as a natural extension of their role as a hunter, hence the link between men, steak and barbeques. While older married men perceive cooking as 'helping' their wives, bachelors have been coached in the seductive potential of exotic cooking.

Clearly, food-centred occupations hold different, and at times oppositional meanings for different people. This presentation considers Nelson's (1988) concept of occupational forms against this background of diversity. Its particular focus is the sociocultural dimension of occupational forms, which Nelson described as a pre-existing structure of symbols, values, norms, roles, rules, procedures and sanctions that guide interpretation of the physical, human and temporal environment in which an occupation is performed. Two questions are addressed:

  • How might we consider the socio-cultural reality that informs individual's interpretation of an occupational form? Is this 'storehouse of knowledge' a conglomerate of all the perspectives held in a society, or only those visible from different positions in society?
  • How do occupational forms change over time?

Tentative responses to these questions are proposed, encompassing ideological, structural, socio-economic, and technological change.

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Oct 16th, 12:00 AM Oct 18th, 12:00 AM

Reflections on Form: Food-Centred Insights

Older women, younger women, poorer women, and men all perceive the occupation of cooking from different perspectives. In the Western world, older women were socialised to accept that cooking was a natural occupation that they would find rewarding. Cooking for their family would be a creative outlet and a critical ingredient of family togetherness. Younger women contest this view, although many continue to do the cooking to ensure that the task of feeding the family is done properly or done at all. Poorer women's concerns centre on having enough to cook. They enact a variety of strategies to ration food, including keeping food stocks low and restricting their own intake of meat. To men, cooking has been portrayed as a natural extension of their role as a hunter, hence the link between men, steak and barbeques. While older married men perceive cooking as 'helping' their wives, bachelors have been coached in the seductive potential of exotic cooking.

Clearly, food-centred occupations hold different, and at times oppositional meanings for different people. This presentation considers Nelson's (1988) concept of occupational forms against this background of diversity. Its particular focus is the sociocultural dimension of occupational forms, which Nelson described as a pre-existing structure of symbols, values, norms, roles, rules, procedures and sanctions that guide interpretation of the physical, human and temporal environment in which an occupation is performed. Two questions are addressed:

  • How might we consider the socio-cultural reality that informs individual's interpretation of an occupational form? Is this 'storehouse of knowledge' a conglomerate of all the perspectives held in a society, or only those visible from different positions in society?
  • How do occupational forms change over time?

Tentative responses to these questions are proposed, encompassing ideological, structural, socio-economic, and technological change.